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N. American die casters win back market share

Keywords: Tags  Eastern Alloys, die casting, zinc, aluminum, magnesium, Ryan Winter, andrea hotter

CANCUN, Mexico — The North American die casting market is starting to see signs that demand is swinging back in its favor and away from its competitors in China, according to an executive at Eastern Alloys Inc.

The transition of business is in part the result of changes in the exchange rate between the dollar and the yuan, Ryan Winter, manager of customer engineered services at the Maybrook, N.Y.-headquartered company, told AMM. "The exchange rate had in the past been hitting die casters’ ability to function and compete with China, but today there’s parity between the two countries in terms of cost."

He said customers are winning business away from their counterparts in China, and studies show that Chinese parts now cost more than in the United States.

The growth in China’s infrastructure and automotive sectors, two key consumption areas for die casting, means that the country is also focusing its attention more on its domestic market instead of exporting to North America, Winter said.

The North American die casting market, meanwhile, is starting to recover from the downturn of the past several years. "The number of die casting facilities in North America has been on the slide since the 1960s as smaller companies—mom-and-pop shops—were being bought out, went out of business or consolidated, which is typical for a mature (market)," he said at the International Zinc Association conference in Cancun. "But the level of shipments over the same period has continued to rise."

Aluminum accounts for around 54 percent of die casting in the United States, while zinc represents about 38 percent and magnesium only 8 percent, Winter said. Die casting accounts for around 16 percent of total zinc consumption.

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